How long can Covid–19 last on a surface?

Here's what we know about how long Covid–19 can last on a surface and the cleaning products most effective at killing it

people using DIY hand sanitizer
(Image credit: Elizaveta Galitckaia, Shutterstock)

While we're all pretty familiar with the importance of washing our hands in a bid to limit the spread of Covid–19, increasingly emerging are concerns about how long the virus might be able to survive on surfaces. 

Below you'll find a summary of the latest research covering how long Covid–19 can last on a surface, along with a round-up of the best products that are safe to use in your home, and effective in killing germs.

For more cleaning advice and information, head over to our hub page.

How long can Covid–19 last on a surface?

According to a report by the BBC, it's still unclear exactly how long Covid-19 can survive outside the human body. But given its similarity to other coronaviruses, including Sars and Mers, it's speculated that the virus could last for up to nine days on hard surfaces including metal, glass and plastic. In rare instances, it might even last for up to 28 days if temperatures are low enough. So, it's fair to say that they're pretty resilient.

More recent research shared in the National Institutes of Health on Covid-19, specifically, suggests that the virus is detectable in aerosols for up to three hours, up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel.

So, how should we go about killing – and consequently protecting ourselves from – the virus? Research has shown that disinfecting surfaces with 62-71% alcohol, or 0.5% hydrogen peroxide bleach or household bleach containing 0.1% sodium hypochlorite is the most effective solution. The products below meet this requirement and are currently available online.